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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22161
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My son and I were involved in a vehicle incident, my son was

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My son and I were involved in a vehicle incident, my son was driving and was charged with a driving offence and also of threatening to kill with a gun as well as using a document for pecuniary advantage(insurance claim). The incident happened the day before daylight saving finished. We had CCTV footage to cooberate the times of the events. The car was my husbands car and it was I that put the claim in. The insurance company stated a claim had been made by the owner of the other vehicle and had been turned down. The plaintive is not the owner of the vehicle but was made out to be the owner in court and was awarded reparation without any proof of costs (he had gone home and pulled the front end of the truck with a tractor). The owner did not apply for reparation. The driver of the truck was found to have a long list of offences of this nature. My sons lawyer said not to bring it up in court as" just because he was known to have done this before it did not mean he was guilty this time and not to write notes while in court as the judge would get angry. There were also calls lodged with comms from both parties. my sons lawyer said she couldn't understand them, and when my son asked where all of the calls that we had made(we had made 2 calls)and could the lawyer get a hold of these calls, but he was told that was not possible. These calls were never bought out in open court even though they could have been contested and proof that the truck driver had been lying. The truck driver stated that my son had threatened him with a gun to comms. The operater got upset at him as she was telling him there was no way my son would be anywhere near them. This call could have been proven false as my son was speaking to comms at the time from outside the nearest police station(the station was closed. The times on the cctv footage proved this but my sons lawyer told to tell him cctv footage was not the best evidence. . When giving my statement I noticed that the policeman had gotten some facts wrong and t hey proceeded to adjust them getting them correct and proceeded to print it out. I signed this without checking again (trusting the officer to get it right)but he never saved the changes so when I saw a copy I informed my sons lawyer to which she said that had made me effectively a witness for the prosecution and she could have nothing to do with me. The lawyer at the beginning told my son he would have to have 2 court cases if he wanted a jury trial which would make things messy as some of the charges were not important enough and advised a judge only trial for all. The cost for a jury was approx. 36 thousand as well as 24 for a judge only. My son was unemployed and was told by the lawyer he didn't qualify for legal aid. There were many more instances of conflicting advice. Has my son got a case for complaint and how should he go about this?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 5 months ago.

If you are unhappy with the representation from your lawyer, then you can make a complaint to the Lawyers Complaint Service about the advice that you received. If you think your son was wrongly convicted and should have pleaded not guilty, and the sentence he received was too heavy, then there is an option of an appeal.

If your son was unemployed he should qualify for legal aid and I don't understand why he was told that he didn't qualify. These are serious charges and he would be entitled to a lawyer under legal aid.

From your description there was at least some discussion about the charges in court, but if your son pleaded guilty to the charges then while it is possible to dispute the facts with a disputed fact hearing, only relevant issues can be raised. You have to drill down to the important issue of whether he did make the threat to kill, whether his driving was not good, and the insurance problems. Sometimes there can be errors or mistakes in the evidence, but this will not always provide a defence if the central parts of the prosecution are not in dispute. But it appears to me that he may not have had matters explained very well, and so by making a complaint to the Lawyers Complaint Service he may be able to get better understanding of the advice.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 5 months ago.

The Lawyers Complaint service is here

He can contact the complaint service and complete the form to make a complaint, and they will get in touch with him and discuss the matter further

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